Pine Flat Methodist Church celebrates 164 years

Published 9:19 am Monday, September 26, 2022

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Pine Flat Methodist Church will celebrate its 164th Homecoming on  Oct. 2 beginning at 11 a.m.

The church is located on Alabama Highway 10, west of Greenville. All are welcome to attend the event.

Dr. Olivia Poole will have the honor of presiding over the service.

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She hails from Montgomery and was brought up in the congregation of the First United  Methodist Church.

After receiving her degree from Auburn University, she decided to attend Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and later earned her doctorate degree from Duke University.

In the spring of 1858, James and Martha Reynolds deeded the land for the original church, and the men of the community began to clear the land.

They used the large virgin pine trees that dotted the property to build the church.

The wood was sawed at Bowen’s Mill and hand planed by true craftsmen.

In the early years, the area’s original group of Methodists, practicing the Wesleyan tradition, held their meetings in the homes of friends and neighbors, and later at the Pine Flat Academy.

The Charter members included the Reynolds family, the Barge, Harris, and Greene families. Also among those first worshippers were the Purifoy family. The McDonald, Holaway, and Morris families were also represented in the rolls.

There was a special gallery built across the front of the church. For Sunday morning services, the slaves sat upstairs in the gallery. For afternoon services, the slaves sat downstairs and slave owners sat upstairs in the gallery.

When renovations were done in 1870, there was no longer a need for the gallery, so it was removed from the church.

Also, when the church was first built, a partition was placed down the center to separate the men from the women.

After the “circuit riders,” who would preach a four-hour sermon, came the first pastor of Pine Flat Church. Theophilus Moody was from the Alabama Conference.

In 1967, the church underwent extensive restoration.

Helen Lazenby Poole helped guide all the details of the project. She loved the church dearly and wanted to make sure all the hard work would not be in vain.

The interior woodwork and pews were all refinished by hand. A new roof was added, and a bright new coat of paint spruced up both the inside and outside.

In 1980, Helen Poole said of the church she loved so much, “We owe a debt of gratitude to those godly ministers and consecrated church members who laid the foundation … It is our responsibility to follow the example of our forefathers and, by our zeal and fidelity, perpetuate Christian discipleship at Pine Flat.”

Regular services are no longer held at the church.

Descendants of the original families and former members attend special events, including weddings, christenings, and Homecoming.